The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UNOPS and Mastercard to work together on innovative ways to finance humanitarian operations

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations was signed in New York

The transfer of funds is a necessary transaction for successful project implementation.

For UNOPS, working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, this transaction can sometimes take the form of cash payments to our suppliers, contractors and personnel.

In an effort to help speed-up funds transfers in the field, particularly in high-risk environments, Mastercard will begin research on a payment platform that could allow UNOPS to send payments to its service providers in the field digitally.

Mastercard recently tested and validated its own blockchain technology in the business-to-business space to address challenges related to speed, transparency and costs, when it comes to cross-border payments. 

Given that payment infrastructure in any given country can differ significantly, the solution must be able to work across geographies and in areas where banks – and perhaps even mobile connectivity – are not readily available,”

Yoshiyuki Yamamoto - Special Advisor for UN Engagement and Blockchain Technology for UNOPS.

Mastercard will initially focus on the digital disbursement of payments to UNOPS services providers in the field, which would then allow them to cash-out payments in local currencies.

As a second phase, the developed solution, by virtue of its ability to digitally inject funds in-country, could help provide incentives for local merchants to begin accepting digital payments.

“This new MOU underlies UNOPS commitment to efficiency and transparency,” added Mr. Yamamoto. “The work of our suppliers and contractors helps UNOPS deliver on its mission in some of the harshest environments. It’s important that we look at more innovative ways to finance these operations.” 

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